Summary: RECEIVING GRACE AND DOING SERVICE ARE INSEPARABLE PARTS OF THE EXPERIENCE OF TRANSFORMATION
Romans 1:5 – Grace & Ministry
5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
I. Received Gifts
a. Paul is going to describe the powerful, life-changing gifts he has received from Christ
b. James 1:17 -- Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
c. We must recognize that everything good in our life is a gift from God
d. 1 Corinthians 4:7 -- For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
e. This is true of both gifts (like grace) and calling (like apostleship)
f. Because we receive these from the Lord, it is foolish to:
i. Boast of our accomplishments
ii. Glory in our abilities
iii. Feel insecure in our work
iv. Compare ourselves to others
g. Like the parable of the talents, we must reverently fulfill our calling understanding the giver of the gift will measure our faithfulness in service
a. Grace is mentioned 24 times in the book of Romans, 159 times in Scripture, with over 100 of those being from the Apostle Paul
b. This consistent theme from Paul is the foundation of understanding salvation
c. We would misunderstand grace to understand it in its current human context – She has grace, he was a gracious host
d. Grace in the New Testament refers to the great undeserved showering of God’s goodness on the unworthiest of recipients, sinful and rebellious people
e. Grace is the reason and means by which God brings us salvation
i. Ephesians 2:7-9 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
f. Grace is given to heal the spiritually sick, not to decorate spiritual heroes.
g. Part of our problem is in understanding the nature of grace itself.
i. Grace is scandalous.
ii. It’s hard to accept, hard to believe, and hard to receive.
iii. Grace shocks us in what it offers. It is truly not of this world.
iv. It frightens us with what it does and how we need it.
h. Grace teaches us that God does for others what we would never do for them.
i. We would save the not-so-bad.
ii. God starts with prostitutes and then works downward from there.
iii. Grace is a gift that costs everything to the giver and nothing to the receiver.
iv. It is given to those who don’t deserve it, barely recognize it, and hardly appreciate it.
v. That’s why God alone gets the glory in your salvation.
vi. Jesus did all the work when he died on the cross.
i. In the end grace means that no one is too bad to be saved.
i. God specializes in saving really bad people.
ii. Do you have some things in your background that you would be ashamed to talk about in public?
iii. Fear not.
iv. God knows all about it, and His grace is greater than your sin.
j. Grace also means that some people may be too good to be saved.
i. That is, they may have such a high opinion of themselves that they think they don’t need God’s grace.
ii. God’s grace cannot help you until you are desperate enough to receive it.
iii. There are two kinds of people who need Grace – those who know they need it, and those who think they don’t.
k. Grace offers us a fresh start.
i. The Christian life is really a series of new beginnings.
ii. That’s what grace is all about. No one is first, and no one is last.
iii. I’m not better than you and you’re no better than me.
iv. You’re no worse than I am and I’m no worse than you are.
v. We’re all covered by the grace of Christ.
l. When you get what you deserve, it is justice
i. When you get goodness you don't deserve, it is grace
ii. When you deserve hell and God gives you heaven, it is grace
iii. When you fall, and there is a hand to pick you up, there is grace
iv. When you are sick, and you receive His healing touch, there is grace
v. When you are a prodigal, but there is a Father running toward you with a robe, shoes & a ring, there is grace